Commanding Officer's Log, Stardate: 140503

Location: Astraios Colony

It's Saturday, 0700 hours.... or is it?

One thing I find difficult is the mix of Terran and Astraionian customs, sometimes it feels ludicrous to live on a planet with an eight day week and a 25 hour day, and organize my crew and my schedule by the Terran hours, days, weeks. Starfleet is based on that model and I still, after all this time, sometimes struggle with the time differences.

For Astraionians, this is Sannaite, a special day that begins at their dawn, with a traditional breakfast of fresh breads made from local grains and fresh water, with seeds and fruits baked within it. This is served typically with a kind of tea made of a bitter herb, this is intended to give the drinker strength in adversity. I adore the bread but only sip the tea, and, if no one is looking, I dilute it with hot water. I guess that makes me weak *smiles*

After bread and tea families usually go together for a walk, the most traditional will go to one of the temples to observe the Rite of the Rock. It involves sparking a fire from rock, on rock, and then singing as the smoke of the herb laden woods fills the air. The smoke is not toxic, it seems, just sweet smelling and rather delightful... (the computer tells me this might be similar to something called 'incense' which was burned in Terran temples of old). The singing is always beautiful, sometimes mournful but always... peaceful. I think it represents the soul of the Astraionian to me... at heart they are farmers and caregivers of their planet, she who bears them, feeds them, and protects them.

For outsiders, the temple, made of stone, with three towering rocks placed by a granite altar, looks archaic. But in reality the Astraionians do not worship the rocks. They revere their planet, the third rock, that spins around their sun. And indeed, Astraios is like no other planet... some speak of her as though she has a mind or soul. Perhaps they are right, she has a mischievous spirit - we've certainly experienced that in our time here... but she is also benevolent. And beautiful. I can't think of anywhere I've been in the three quadrants I've been to that has touched me so deeply.

When I think of Astraios and her peoples... I admit I have a great fondness for them. Which makes me worry all the more about the increasing pressures from outsiders. This fragile world... this fragile peace... *sighs*